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Kellyn Toombs graduated from University High School in 2018. After high school, she attended Case Western Reserve University and is currently pursuing her M.A. in Museum Studies at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. In addition to pursuing her master’s degree and completing an internship with the Cummings Center for the History of Psychology in Akron, she assisted with one of this year’s J-Term classes, Philadelphia: Preserving the Past & Forming the Future. Kellyn gave students a presentation about her favorite businesses and places to visit in Philadelphia and accompanied the class during their J-Term trip. She joined them for their stops in Historic Germantown and the Johnson House!

What have you been up to since leaving UHS?

In May of 2022, I graduated from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, with a double major in history and biology, and am now earning my M.A. in museum studies with a concentration in museum education at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. I also work part-time in the education department at the Mütter Museum in Philadelphia and am finishing up a year-long internship with the Cummings Center for the History of Psychology in Akron, Ohio. The exhibit I curated with the Cummings Center, “Beyond the Picket Fence: The Places and Spaces We Call Home,” will be opening on February 3, 2023!

Why did you choose to return to assist with a J-Term class?

This past summer, my friend Linda (UHS ’19) and I stopped by the school to say hello to our old teachers while she was in town. We ran into her French teacher, Mr. [Christopher] Hindsley, who shared that he was teaching a J-Term class on historic preservation in Philadelphia. I was excited to tell him that I was working in a history-adjacent field and was moving to Philadelphia to start my master’s degree in just a few weeks and that I would be happy to serve as a point of contact for any UHS students interested in public history or museum careers. I visited the class virtually via Zoom, where I shared a bit about my career path as well as some of my favorite places to visit within Philadelphia. It was great to hear that a class of UHS students are taking a one-of-a-kind history and culture class and learning so much about the city I now call home!

What is your best University J-Term memory from when you were a student?

When I was at UHS, I was privileged to have two amazing travel experiences abroad. My junior year J-Term went scuba diving in Belize with Stacey Summitt-Mann and Carolyn Bradley, and my senior J-Term was an art history class that visited museums across France and Italy with Maddy MacAllister, Meredith Van Rooy, and my mentor, [former math instructor] Jenny Cox. However, there will always be something special about my freshman year J-Term with Erica Posthuma, a class all about ghosts and the paranormal. Despite Ms. Posthuma’s determination to prove to us that paranormal phenomena could all be explained by science, our stay at a haunted bed and breakfast had a lot of us convinced that ghosts were real!

What has been your favorite part of helping with J-Term? 

It was great to hear from the students in the class about what they have been enjoying about their J-Term and their favorite parts of being a UHS student. I am looking forward to meeting the class in person during their time in Philadelphia!